Private Grant Edward Freye

This is part of a series of essays about the First World War casualties commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Pennsylvania.

The grave of Grant Edward Freye

Private Freye posed something of a conundrum given the variations of his age and name that appear in his service and other records and on his grave stone. He did not serve for long, only 2½ months, before he succumbed to the severe effects of appendicitis, aged only 17.

The name under which he served was a variation of the spelling of his family name. Early records show the name as ‘Fry’, later his mother and father used the name ‘Frey’. He also gave false details upon enlistment for his date of birth—common for those underage.

Grant Edward Fry was born about 1899 in Fisher’s Ferry, Pennsylvania, the only child of Hurley Fry and Martha Fox.[1] His father was a carpenter for Dewart Milk Products Co. in Dewart and his mother lived in Fisher’s Ferry; after they married, the family settled in Dewart.

Grant Fry enlisted in Toronto on 25 January 1917, giving his name as Freye and date of birth as 8 March 1896. He joined the 234th (Peel) Battalion (1024544 Private), which had moved to Exhibition Camp in Toronto for the winter from Camp Niagara. On 11 February, Private Freye fell ill with influenza and was admitted to the base hospital; he recovered and returned to duty. He fell ill with appendicitis in early April and again he was admitted to the camp hospital. A week later his condition worsened and on 11 April 1917 he died of pneumonia and peritonitis. His body was returned home and he was buried in Watsontown Cemetery in Northumberland County. His grave in Lot 24 is marked with a private memorial. His parents are buried nearby.

The Canadian Book of Remembrance showing the entry for Private Grant Edward Freye

Private Grant Edward Freye is commemorated on page 240 of the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance; that page is displayed on 29 May. Although ineligible for any war medals, the memorial plaque and scroll were sent to his father and his mother received the Memorial Cross.

1. (Back) Hurley J. Frey (9 March 1878-19 August 1941) married Elizabeth Martha Fox (14 February 1876-29 December 1949) on 17 March 1902 in Northumberland County. His wife appears in records variously as Martha, Mattie, Elizabeth, and Lizzie and the Family name is spelled ‘Fry’, ‘Frey’, and ‘Freye’.

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